As a Humanist, in a generally liberal western nation, the most I ever have to worry about is being called names, smeared as un-patriotic, or being blamed for the ‘ills of the nation’ like abortion and same-sex marriage. It usually is a war of words or debates in comment sections of websites or newspapers. What if the abuse got physical. Would I risk my life for my principles? Would you?
50 years ago, several hundred protesters wanting voting rights for African-Americans and an end to racial discrimination, were attacked in Selma, Alabama by state and local police.
Protesters attacked during the Selma to Montgomery march for civil rights March 1965
Why would police in Ferguson, Missouri need a sniper on an armored truck for an unarmed non-violent protest?
Michael Brown was shot by a police officer on August 9, 2014, in Ferguson, Missouri. His shooting led to several weeks of protests, which sometimes got violent. His shooting illustrates not just racism but much worse. The treatment of Michael Brown and African-Americans like him shows a general attempt to dehumanize a group of people. If we stay silent about it, how long before we are next?
We don’t want this
Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, decided in the US Supreme Court in 2010, struck down laws that tried to control money given by corporations and other artificial entities in elections. The ruling essentially gave corporations free speech rights. It conferred personhood under the law for corporations. There are currently cases in the courts that could give religious freedom rights to corporations and remove any limits on the amount of money individuals could spend on election campaigns. Giving human rights to corporations or saying that money equals free speech is bad for actual humans. The Move to Amend group is working to change this terrible trend toward Corporate personhood.
Dr. Carter G. Woodson: Humanist and father of Black History Month
February is Black History Month in the United States. Did you know that one of the people responsible for what we now know as Black History Month was a Humanist? Dr. Carter G. Woodson (1875 – 1950) was a historian, author, journalist and the founder of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. Woodson was one of the first scholars to study African-American history.
A fast food business in West Virginia sent out letters to area churches saying the company was “in need of Christian employees.” The recruitment letter violates state and federal discrimination law.
Ellery Schempp’s protest of required Bible reading in his High School lead to the case Abington School District v. Schempp being decided in 1963
Fifty years ago today, the US Supreme Court handed down their landmark decision Abington School District v. Schempp that struck down a Pennsylvania law that mandated Bible reading in the public schools. The case started with a protest in 1956 by then High School student Ellery Schempp. His case showed us the importance of dissent and that mandatory Bible reading, in public schools, infringes on religious liberty. It’s great that Dr. Schempp is still active in the struggle to protect the 1st Amendment and he is definitely a Humanist you should know.